Should the US stop the Inhumane Racially Biased Murders carried out in the name of Justice?

The American Bar Association released a report on Sunday which shows among other things the glaring racial disparity in death sentences handed down by our court systems.

Stephen F. Hamilton chairman of the American Bar Associations, Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project stated, “After carefully studying the way states across the spectrum handle executions, it has become crystal clear that the process is deeply flawed, the death penalty system is rife with irregularity”.

The ABA believe that there are serious problems with various death penalty systems in use across the nation in regards to the distribution of accuracy and fairness and that these disparities justify a nationwide freeze on all executions across the country.

The report which looked at data from over 3 years and took into consideration the operational characteristics of eight states which included: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee found glaring inconsistencies. Among the problems cited were the inconsistent use of DNA evidence and persistent racial disabilities which make the likelihood of a death sentence more likely when the victim was white.

This thought process is further strengthened with this statistic as the death penalty has been employed much more often when the victim was white — 82 percent of the victims of death row inmates were white, while only 50 percent of all homicide victims were white (this statistic was not a part of the ABA report cited).

While the ABA did not take a position on capital punishment our State and Federal courts have recently stopped most executions pending an anticipated decision from a higher court.

Among the flaws cited by the ABA was the inconsistent use of DNA which has to this date been used to exonerate over 200 inmates who were falsely accused. They also found what law enforcement and prosecutorial officials have known for years, that quite often well meaning citizens misidentify many defendants because of the procedures now in place in the United States judicial system. It was also found that many false confessions had been elicited from poorly educated or flustered defendants who have been abused during interrogation procedures

As states across the country look at the ABA report they should also be aware that the dozen states that have chosen not to enact the death penalty since the Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that it was constitutionally permissible have not had higher homicide rates than states with the death penalty as recent government statistics show.

Astonishingly 10 of the 12 states without capital punishment have homicide rates below the national average, Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows, while half the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above the national average. In a state-by- state analysis, it was found that during the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48 percent to 101 percent higher than in states without the death penalty.

If this is coupled with the fact that over 200 United States citizens have been exonerated by the use of DNA evidence and the fact that these individuals served collectively over 2,500 years in prison, our system of justice is in dire need of a much needed overhaul.

In recent reports released it was shown that more than 75% of the wrongful convictions involved eyewitness misidentification (often cross-racial misidentification, and often from more than one witness); nearly two-thirds involve forensic science errors (from simple mistakes to outright fraud); 25% were based on false confessions (as the result of coercive interrogations or defendants’ limited mental capabilities).

Prosecutors have known of these glaring irregularities forever and yet they gleefully enter courtrooms across the country on a daily basis and sentence innocent US citizens to lengthy prison sentences and even death.

Agencies which are pledged to protect and serve quite often go after the easiest target and then move on to another without regard to the suffering that a quite possibly innocent victim will endure. The prosecutor only wishes to further their career and the party at the table across the courtroom will only further their goal if they can get a conviction.

Criminal statistical models as reported by our government have shown that overall crime has been and continues to drop for over ten years, yet still these injustices are allowed to occur daily in our courtrooms across the country.

The time has come for judicial reform and an end to the death penalty as neither you nor I want to be responsible for an innocent United States citizen to be put to death for a crime they never committed.

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